“The jury’s verdict in this case may finally bring some peace to the Shaner family knowing her murderer has been held
accountable,” stated U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke of today’s verdict. “Justice has been served by the tireless efforts of our federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents.”
"The FBI is extremely gratified by this verdict," Phoenix Division FBI Special Agent in Charge James Turgal, Jr. stated. "While there can be no real justice for Leesa Jo Shaner's family, at least they were able to witness her killer being called to answer for his crimes,"
The evidence at trial showed that Ms. Shaner left her family home around 9:25 p.m. on May 29, 1973, to pick up her husband from the Tucson International Airport. When her husband arrived he could not find her. The car she drove to the airport was later found in the airport parking lot with the driver’s window halfway down, the car unlocked and her purse inside on the back seat. Despite an extensive search, Ms. Shaner could not be located.
In September 1973, Ms. Shaner’s remains were found in a shallow grave on Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. Witnesses testified and evidence was presented at trial that Zamastil abducted her from the airport and took her to Ft. Huachuca where he raped, murdered and buried her. Law enforcement officials first became aware of Zamistil’s involvement in Ms. Shaner’s rape and murder in 1979 while he was imprisoned for the rape and murder of a Wisconsin woman.